Fernando Alonso has responded to the various jibes from Red Bull and Mercedes directed towards Aston Martin and the AMR23.
Both teams – following Aston Martin’s resurgence at the start of 2023 – have made comments about the similarities between their cars and the Silverstone squad’s new car.
Toto Wolff, following Mercedes’ underwhelming start to the year, has made sure to point out that Aston Martin takes many of its components from the German works team.
Helmut Marko and Christian Horner have made similar comments, focusing on the numerous Red Bull employees – including Dan Fallows – that have joined Lawrence Stroll’s team.
Fundamentally, these comments have very little foundation. Aston Martin’s AMR23 machine is quite unique among the 2023 grid, with its sidepods – amongst other areas – visibly different from much of the field.
Under their previous name, Racing Point, the Silverstone team was quite unapologetic about taking inspiration from Mercedes when developing the 2020 RP20 machine.
However, unsurprisingly, Aston Martin has been far more dismissive of these -perhaps intentionally provocative – claims this year.
Speaking to the media in Jeddah, Fernando Alonso was asked for his thoughts on this issue:
“I don’t mind the comments. I am not concerned. My focus is on the team and trying to improve…
“But you can see clearly there are differences between the two cars (the AMR23 and RB19).
“Visually, they are very different, and you can see this with Mercedes claiming 50% of our cars is from them, whilst Red Bull says 50% of our car has their features.
“And there can’t be two more different concepts than these. This clearly shows that neither of these theories is correct.
“We have a different concept to those two cars, although, in reality, all cars look a little similar.
“Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo also look similar between themselves.
“I would say the car most similar to ours, honestly, is the Alpine – with the sidepods and its shape (near the rear of the car).”
In many ways, Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin should take these jibes as compliments. Such off-track exchanges only come with the territory of competing at the front.
The British squad’s energy will now be concentrated on achieving a better understanding of the AMR23, which represents a significant change from last season.
Alonso has previously outlined that – unlike Red Bull or Ferrari – Aston Martin’s concept is not a continuation of evolution from last year, and instead represents a substantial change.
As such, whilst the team’s result in Bahrain was very strong, it will take some time until the team can fully optimise its package.
More track-time will provide a better understanding of the AMR23’s weaknesses and where the team should divert its resources this season.
F1’s budget cap forces teams to be highly efficient with development spending, so there is no incentive to rushing upgrades without full confidence they will produce results.
The Saudi Arabia GP will present a very different challenge for the teams, and so can provide Aston Martin with more data on the strengths and weaknesses of their package.